Thursday, September 25, 2008

Germany's Dumbest Bank

Conde Nast Portfolio ran a story today with the headline "Credit Crisis Schadenfreude."

It quotes Germany's finance minister, Peer Steinbrück, saying that the credit crisis threatens the United States' status as a financial superpower.

"The United States will lose its status as the superpower in the world financial system," he said. "The world financial system will become more multipolar." (I would argue that this doesn't actually qualify as Schadenfreude, but as simple criticism and prediction, the real Schadenfreude is to come...)

Before you get too worried, I should note that German bankers do not seem to have a great knack for prediction. I remind you of an article I posted here in may.

"German Bundesbankers...are not concerned about any direct fallout from the US mortgage crisis," wrote Ralph Atkins in the Financial Times.

The article's headline was "Schadenfreude stirs in resilient Germany."

Conde Nast's article today noted with a smirk that "Herr Minister has a personal reason to be bitter about the credit crisis. Steinbrück is on the supervisory board of the state-controlled bank KfW, which transferred some $425 million to Lehman Brothers a little more than an hour before the Wall Street firm filed for bankruptcy protection. 'Germany's Dumbest Bank!' screamed the front-page headline in the newspaper Bild."